Interview / u-POST
Korea's postal service leaps into the 21st century knowledge economy
To tide over the deteriorating postal service environment both at home and abroad and establish a self-supporting managerial base, Korea Post has been pursuing the u-POST 339 strategy, according to the most senior executive of Korea Post.
Noting that the top managerial vision of Korea Post is to offer a postal service that can satisfy the people, Hwang Joongyeon, president of Korea Post said, 'We have mapped out a concrete plan to achieve this vision. It is the u-POST 339 strategy.'
In an interview with Korea IT Times, he explained, 'The first three are reformative strategies -- reform of customer service, reform of business model and reform of procedures.'
To upgrade services for customers, Korea Post will standardize treatment levels for customers according to each situation facing customers and strengthen education on treating customers. 'For reform of business model, we will place emphasis on such strategic products as home-delivery service and electronic mail system (EMS), away from the previous general postal service,' said Hwang.
As a means of promoting the reform of procedures, Korea Post will remove inefficiency of businesses by pushing for the 6Sigma automated management system. The second refers to steps for improving treatment of Korea Post employees. Korea Post will make best efforts for improvement of welfare, labor-management cooperation and remuneration for business results, he said.
The third are detailed action plans in the postal service, financing and management sectors.
In the postal service sector, it will exert best efforts to improve quality of service, build u-POST logistics foundation, and actively foster strategic businesses. In the financial sector, Korea Post will seek ways of implementing u-banking, expanding its public role, and expanding its stable growth base.
In the managerial sector, meanwhile, it will actively push for construction of organizational system, strengthening of manpower competitiveness and introduction of advanced managerial systems.
Through the u-POST 339 strategy, Korea Post will be reborn as a government agency, which gains affection from the people, the Korea Post president added. As concrete steps to satisfy various customers' demands, Korea Post plans to bolster professional education to let its employees acquire professional knowledge on its business and operate a system to manage customers' needs in an attempt to instantly solve their complaints.
It will also build the world's top-tier postal logistics integrated information system, called the PostNet, to effectively manage and control distribution information in all processes ranging from receipts of mail to sending, arrival and delivery. It also established TestBed to build the next-generation logistics system, which grafts RFID technology onto the PostNet. To enhance efficiency of the collection and delivery of mail, Korea Post also supplied one PDA to each of its 16,000 mailmen.
As the total mail volume has decreased by 5-6 percent every year since 2003 owing to the rapid development of alternative communication means, we have placed the focus of the business structure on such strategic products carrying high value added as home-delivery service by post offices and EMS, away from the past ordinary postal service.
It also enhanced customers' convenience in the use of post offices through development of new products suitable for customers' needs, mobile banking, and 365 corners. For stable operation of created funds, Korea Post reformed its operational organization, expanded professional manpower, and built RM and ALM systems.
Along with this, Korea Post has been pushing ahead with sweeping reforms in organization, personnel affairs, welfare projects and business process.
In particular, it launched the 6Sigma campaign for the first time as a government institution. It attained 20.6 billion won worth of financial achievements by completing 290 tasks aimed at improving productivity and enhancing competitiveness.
Through customer-oriented management, Korea Post secured the top position in the appraisals of Korean Customer Satisfaction Index (KCSI) in the public administrative part for the seventh consecutive year.
'We also attained 67.4 billion won in surplus, realizing a surplus management for the eight consecutive year,' said Hwang.
Despite such favorable results, however, the mail service volume has been reduced gradually and the competition in the financial market has become fierce, he said.
'Accordingly, we plan to upgrade our managerial efficiency to the level of financially healthy private companies by building advanced IT-based logistics system and pursuing strategic management this year,' he said.
'In addition, we will continue pushing ahead with the policy for customer satisfaction by expanding call centers and building a regular appraisal system to meet customers' demands in 2006, making it the eighth year of securing the No. 1 position in the KCSI appraisal,' said Hwang.
On the Korea Post's service in the financial sector, he said that the global financial industry is facing drastic changes, influenced by the IT development, diversification of customers' demands and the trend of low market interest rates.
Since 2004, the increase rate of deposits at domestic financial institutions has been slowing significantly owing to low interest rates and the bullish stock market.
Meanwhile, the financing business of Korea Post has a structural limit because it has to offer general services for ordinary people in cities and those in agricultural and fishery regions and has no lending function, he said.
Ironically, however, people have great confidence in Korea Post financing because it exists for the people, not for profit-taking only, Hwang said.
'Accordingly, we plan to strengthen Korea Post's general services for the people and achieve current surplus by making the best use of our nationwide networks and expanding business alliances with private financial institutions,' he said.
| The following are excerpts from an interview with Hwang Joong-yeon, president of Korea Post.
Q: Korea Post has enjoyed a handsome surplus every year. In 2006, it has set its current account surplus target at 70 billion won ($72.9 million). Would you tell our readers about Korea Post's plans to achieve the target
To satisfy people's financial demands, we will actively develop well-being products and new products suitable for aged people in keeping with the ageing society. At the same time, we are seeking development of new products that combine investment and guaranty.
The volume of Korea Post financing reached 56.7 trillion won ($59 billion) at the end of 2005. We will effectively control the funds by enhancing professionalism of fund operation and minimizing risk stemming from fund operation.
Along with this, we will strengthen profit foundation of the postal service through creation of such blue ocean as exploration of corporate logistics market and bolstering of e-business.
Q; Korea Post is now striving to activate ePOST. Would you explain about your plans for 2006
As you know, ePOST is the place where customers can use a variety of one-stop postal services, including electronics mail, cards for congratulations and condolences, and post office's home delivery service, through the Internet.
We will continue upgrading ePOST services and develop it into e-Biz-based logistics portal site in the future through strengthening of a linkage function with corporate information system, supply chain management (SCM) and construction of warehouse management system (WMS).
Also, we are seeking foreign business partners, including foreign post offices, to activate our products in overseas markets.
Q: Korea Post recorded 237.5 billion won ($247.4 million) in the 2005 sales of the home delivery service. Do you have any idea for activating corporate logistics
We plan to actively foster the parcel business as the core strategic business of the postal service project.
To this end, we will effectively utilize logistics warehouses of post offices across the country and build parcel logistics centers in metropolitan areas and major provincial cities.
At the same time, we will introduce service quality index (SQI) to upgrade our services for customers and diversify our home delivery services in such a way as to fully satisfy customers' demands.
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